Kent Watkins and Nan McKay


A Historical Perspective on Housing and Communities

Ep. 1 - Kent Watkins and Nan McKay bring the oral history of housing, culture and communities to life! They reflect on their decades of work in the affordable housing industry and analyze the many challenges on the horizon.

Top Takeaways:

    • Learn about the American Academy of Housing and Communities and why Kent Watkins founded it
    • What it means for Fannie May and Freddie Mac to be fully owned by the government as opposed to being run by shareholders years ago
    • How the housing supply shortage is leading to hike in housing prices today and the expected consequences
    • The regulatory barriers that are stopping affordable housing from further developing
    • The existing interesting opportunities for young people to join the housing sector today
    • The state of the real estate market developments where opportunities lie

A great listen for historians on the evolvement of the affordable housing sector in the last fifty years and the factors that have contributed to it.

"You create your own reality. Keep a positive attitude. Attitude is everything in life." 

Together, Kent and Nan comprise over 100 years of housing and community development experience. They think they met in the 80's when Kent and Nan both owned computer software companies and Nan had founded Nan McKay and Associates and was doing seminars. Both did some work for National Center for Housing Management. Now they are members of the National Leased Housing Association - and are collaborating to create an oral history of housing communities.

They discuss their reasons for collaborating on this historic podcast on housing and communities. Kent began at the nascent HUD and has since become a major voice for industry advocacy. He is the founder and chairman of the American Academy of Housing and Communities. With a long history of government involvement, starting with his involvement in writing the original Civil Rights Act to his championship of applied urbanism today, Kent is a TrailBlazer personified. Nan has been involved in affordable housing and community development since 1963 and is currently President of Nan McKay and Associates, a private firm specializing in the privatization of managing housing authority programs, conducting compliance for disaster areas, and providing training and consulting to communities, states and the federal government nationwide. She is also the founder of four podcasts: Community TrailBlazers, TrailBlazers Impact, Peace Through Business, and Coping In Crisis.


Listen in to hear the change that need to occur with regulatory barriers to ensure the affordable sector has developed accordingly in the 21st century. Also, listen to Kent's personal interview on TrailBlazersImpact podcast, BONUS Episode 34.

Key Moments:

Kent shares the role he played in housing since finishing school at MIT in the early 1970s [2:55]

He talks about the first commission he was involved with which had three projections finance, government housing policy, and regulatory reforms [4:33]

He explains the conservatorship status of Fannie May and Freddie Mac [11:47]

How the housing market has changed over the years and the cause of higher housing prices especially in California [15:19]

The changes that need to be made in zoning regulations and permitting processes by cities [22:04]

Kent explains the two-part contents of his book- the history of housing over the last 50 years and common grounds case studies [27:04]

Why he considers the housing finance system and involving technology in housing as part of his legacy [30:25]

How young people today can join the housing sector whether privately and publicly [36:17]

LinkedIn: Kent Watkins

C-Span Appearance: Kent Watkins

Kent Watkins - Tennis

Kent Watkins - Father/Daughter Tennis

Rocky Mountain Land Institute Conference: Kent Watkins

Iowa Caucus - Kent Watkins

LinkedIn Nan McKay and Associates, Inc.

Nan McKay and Associates, Inc.

The Nan McKay Building

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